GOP state senator deploying to Afghanistan

INDIANAPOLIS - A Republican state senator is heading overseas for military duty in Afghanistan and asking his wife to fill his seat while he is gone.

Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City announced Tuesday that he is to start a Navy Reserve deployment in September and return at the end of April or in early May. He said he has asked his wife Amanda to consider serving in his absence.

State law allows sitting lawmakers to leave on deployments and continue serving in the Legislature after they return. In the meantime, a caucus of Republican committee members in the district can pick a temporary replacement.

Banks is running unopposed for re-election in November from his northeastern Indiana district. The Indiana Supreme Court has signed off on him being sworn into office via Skype.

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